Saturday, February 6, 2010

Keeping Me On My Toes!

I think it's a bit ironic that after two back-to-back posts about shoes this week, I had occasion to see some serious shoe experts at work when I took our older daughter to be fitted for her first pointe shoes- talk about a science! Who knew there were so many different types of ballet shoes out there? A vast selection of pointe shoes must each be tried on in multiple different ballet positions, culminating in the classic "en pointe" (the highlight of the session, of course!)
Caution- these shoes are not for young girls wanting to "play" ballerina. Before a young ballet student can go "en pointe", she must have developed specific muscle strengthening and flexibility, taught through many months of intense "pre-pointe" classes typically around age twelve, and after years of classical ballet classes. Most of my daughter's pre-teen and teenage classmates have been taking lessons literally for ten years!
The primary purpose of this post, however, is not to brag that my daughter is advancing in her sport, but to point out (pun intended) that as parents, we need to make sure we and their coaches are not pushing them to levels of performance beyond their age and body maturity. With the early specialization in sports that seems to be required of even elementary students these days, it's easy for kids to be pushed beyond appropriate limits- especially if they show real promise.
BOTTOM LINE: Pushing kids beyond the appropriate level of athletic endeavors for their body's maturity will lead to injuries. If you think your child's coach has unrealistic expectations, talk with your family doctor or a sports medicine doctor!

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